Website error messages - A consensual experience

Website error messages - A consensual experience

With the launch of our new website at work, we are (and forever will be) working through the “fine tuning” of content and functionality. At the intersection of both of these items, we found an error message coming from a piece of functionality we brought forward from the legacy website.

The error message correctly shows when there are no results to return for our clinic finder when there is not a doctor with the selected product within a specified radius of the zip code entered.

The fine tuning need was not the fact that an error message appeared but rather the content of that error message. It requested the user to email, a now defunct email address, letting us know about the fact that they received the error message.

Excuse me? As a site visitor, I am appalled at the fact you are asking something of me after you just failed to provide the value I came to find.

In the Marketing Rebellion, Mark Schaefer states that marketing has to be consensual. A mutual exchange of value. Asking this of a potential patient that we were not able to direct to a clinic is not a mutual exchange of value.

Potentially, we could turn this into a mutual exchange with a healthcare provider (HCP) looking to purchase our product.

Imagine this… Say the doctor is using the clinic finder tool to see how much competition she would have in her market for a machine she is considering purchasing. At the point where it returns no results or few enough results that present a market opportunity for the doctor, we could then ask for a value exchange.

We could slide in with a question, “are you considering purchasing this device?” Then if the HCP clicked on the bubble, we could ask for their information to have a rep get in touch.

Coming to a website near you soon! - As I was writing this, I made a note to myself to explore how we could get this done.

So, back to solving the current state problem…

Like most things, I turned to the broader internet for inspiration. I found a few pages showing the best error messages across the internet. Below are those links and my favorite error messages from across the web.

My favorite error messages across the web

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